Trotter Mosely

Inconsistency at QB a constant in Auburn’s spring

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Before the start of spring practice, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn had hoped that the quarterback issue would be settled and a No. 1 at the position would emerge at some point during the spring.

Exiting the spring with the playing of the A-Day game and just one practice session remaining Monday, the defending national champs are no closer to having an answer as to who will replace Heisman winner Cam Newton.  In fact, there may be more questions now than there were back in March.

Continuing a trend that’s been one of the themes woven into the spring, both Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley, the two main combatants for the starting job, sprinkled in a handful of big plays amidst what was mostly uneven play during a spring game dominated by the defense and new faces.  And, suffice to say, neither player grabbed the job by the throat as Chizik intimated it will be August before a starter is named.

“Until we know who gives us the best chance to win and it’s 110 percent, we won’t make the call,” Chizik said. “The first year we were here we didn’t make the call. Last year, we did it a week after. It’s just like any other position, when we’re 110 percent certain sure we’ll do that.”

While Chizik said he’s fine with the fact that a starter hasn’t emerged, he lamented the inconsistency that’s plagued both players this spring.

“Very similar in nature,” head coach Gene Chizik said when asked about the two players currently vying to become the starter. “The thing that stands out the most after 14 practices is the inconsistency of both of them. We’re trying to find somebody who can manage the game and manage the team.

“There were some open balls we had today that we missed.”

In other words, get ready for your closeup, Kiehl Frazier.

Frazier, the No. 5 dual-threat QB in the country this year, will join the competition this summer and, according to some who would know, appears poised to make a serious run at the job.  Based on the reports coming out of The Plains throughout the spring, such a situation would appear to be more than a mere pipe dream or wishful thinking.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom for the Tigers, however.  The defense has reportedly been a bright spot this spring — although that could be a byproduct of the offense’s struggles — and that trend continued Saturday.  Additionally, stud running back Michael Dyer (in very limited action) and several other key returnees made it through the game without the need for an MRI and/or an X-ray.  The latter was a point noted by the head coach in his postgame assessment of the program’s current status.

“Overall, we got out the game healthy,” Chizik said.

Based on the massive amount of turnover and roster upheaval facing AU this offseason, the importance of the health factor cannot be understated.  And neither can the fact that the Tigers need someone, anyone, to grab the reins of the offense and take over sooner rather than later.

Penn State, Auburn agree to home-and-home series in 2021, 2022

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1:  Quarterback Zack Mills #7 of the Pennsylvania State University Lions runs with the ball while defended by defensive tackle Spencer Johnson #53 of the Auburn University Tigers during the Capital One Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on January 1, 2003 in Orlando, Florida.  Auburn defeated Penn State 13-9.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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In Auburn’s 113-year history, it’s never played a Big Ten opponent in a regular season game. That’ll change in five years.

Penn State and Auburn announced Monday morning a home-and-home series to take place in 2021 and 2022. The first game will be played in State College on Sept. 18, 2021 and the return will take place at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022.

“This is another great opportunity for our players and fans to be part of something special,” Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “Bringing together elite programs rich in tradition is what college football is all about. We look forward to this home-and-home series with Penn State.”

Making matters betters is the home-and-home nature of this series, instead of playing it as a neutral site one-off to begin a season. Those games are fun (and, far more importantly, generate a ton of revenue) but having Penn State travel to Alabama and Tigers fans going to State College is a far better experience for traveling fanbases.

Auburn and Penn State have met twice before in bowl games, with the most recent meeting a 13-9 Tigers win in the 2003 Capital One Bowl.

Penn State also added a 2021 home game against Ball State on Monday, per ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

Notre Dame WR Torii Hunter will still play football after signing with Los Angeles Angels

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 31: Torii Hunter Jr. #16 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches a pass and is tackled by Avery Williams #2 of the Temple Owls on October 31, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Temple Owls 24-20. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Notre Dame rising redshirt junior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr.‘s status with Brian Kelly’s football team won’t change after he signed with the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.

Hunter is Notre Dame’s leading returning receiver after catching 28 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns last year. But even though he now has a professional baseball contract, his focus will remain on football and the beginning of preseason camp in August.

Hunter, the son of former Minnesota Twins, Angels and Detroit Tigers All-Star/Gold Glover Torii Hunter Sr., was a 23rd-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.

Thankful that they were there to experience this with me yesterday! I’m officially an Angel!✊🏾👼🏾

A photo posted by Torii Hunter Jr. (@thunterjr_) on Jun 26, 2016 at 4:27pm PDT

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Hunter, an outfielder, was primarily used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for Mik Aoki’s Irish baseball team this spring. He worked a crazy schedule (“what is sleep?” he asked) to split time between baseball, spring football and classwork in March and April and hit .182/.308/.182 in 11 at-bats.

Hunter’s baseball highlight came at Florida State, though, a few days after he made a spectacular catch reeling in a Malik Zaire deep ball in Notre Dame’s Blue and Gold Game.

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Justin Thomas-Thornton tweets decision to transfer from Auburn

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 22: Auburn Tigers mascot Aubie greets fans during Auburn's Tiger Walk prior to their game against the Samford Bulldogs on November 22, 2014 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Auburn could be the beneficiary of an offensive transfer in the not-too-distant future, but the football program has apparently sustained a loss on the other side of the ball.

In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Sunday, Justin Thomas-Thornton revealed that he will be “pursuing my collegiate football and academic endeavors elsewhere.”  The defensive lineman gave no reason for his decision to leave The Plains.

Thomas-Thornton, a four-star 2014 signee, played in the 2015 opener against Louisville, but didn’t see any other action the remainder of the year.

If Thomas-Thornton opts for another FBS program, he will be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then be left with two seasons of eligibility that he’d be able to use beginning in 2017.

WR Alvin Bailey opts to leave Florida, transfer from Gators

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Alvin Bailey #89 of the Florida Gators carries as Ocie Rose #1 of the Florida Atlantic Owls defends during the first half of the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Finally, a personnel attrition post on this late-June Sunday that doesn’t involve Baylor.

In mid-May, wide receiver Ryan Sousa announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer out of the Florida football program, and ultimately landed at FCS Southern Illinois.  A little over six weeks later, a fellow Gator receiver has apparently made a similar decision, with Scout.com reporting that Alvin Bailey will leave Jim McElwain‘s squad.

No reason was given for the receiver’s decision, although the recruiting website has an idea as to why.

The Gators added five receivers in the 2016 recruiting class, three of which were on campus in the spring. Junior college transfer Dre Massey seemed to pull ahead of Bailey in the month long practices held between March and April.

The school has declined to address Bailey’s status with the football program.

Bailey was a four-star member of UF’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 22 receiver in the country.  The production never quite matched the recruiting pedigree, though, with Bailey catching three passes for 49 years in his career in Gainesville.  All of those stats came during the 2015 season.